Place Category: Parks and Playgrounds
This park is named in memory of Thomas J. Travers (1897-1958), a prominent Queens Democrat and Jackson Heights community leader. Born and raised in Manhattan, he attended St. Agnes Church and Parochial School and MacDowell Lyceum. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and returned to New York to marry his childhood sweetheart, Ann Desmond. They settled in Jackson Heights, where Travers took an active part in the social and political life of the community. He served on many committees for St. Joan of Arc Church, devoted countless hours to the Catholic Youth Organization, and helped to organize the Jackson Heights Sandlot Baseball League.
Travers was an active member of the Jackson Heights Taxpayers Association and the Queensborough Chamber of Commerce. During World War II, he worked on three War Loans Committees, chaired the Jackson Heights Committee for the New York War Fund, and served as a member of the Registrants Advisory Board. Travers rose to positions of leadership in the Elks and Lions Clubs. He served as Democratic District Leader for Woodside-Jackson Heights from 1940 until his death in 1958. The park was named for Travers in that year by the City Council.
In April 1948 the City of New York acquired land for this park by condemnation. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, Queens Borough President James A. Burke, and Council President Vincent R. Impellitteri participated in the dedication ceremony held on July 26, 1949. The new park featured play equipment for younger children and a variety of athletic facilities for shuffleboard, softball, basketball, volleyball, paddle tennis, shuffle board, and handball. On cold winter days, the rollerskating area was flooded for use as an ice skating rink. Benches, trees, shrubs, and a parkhouse made the park a comfortable place to sit and rest.
In 1995 Council Member John D. Sabini funded the $531,000 reconstruction of Thomas J. Travers Park. The park was dramatically transformed with new spray shower, trees, benches, picnic and game tables, security lighting, and play equipment for tots and older children. The basketball courts were refurbished, and the roller hockey court was repaved. The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by three generations of the Travers family, Thomas J. Travers Jr., Thomas J. Travers 3d, and two-year-old Thomas J. Travers 4th.
- Travers Park
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